O.C. Breweries Take Home Medals at the Great American Beer Festival

Although most of the country is knee deep in politics, one place where everyone can come together over a beer is at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. More than 60,000 beer geeks rushed the Colorado Convention Center for the 2016 Great American Beer Festival, where four sessions sipped, chugged, and belched through the giant hall consuming 3,800 beers from 750 breweries.

In the basement of the nearby Marriott, more than 200 beer judges sniffed, sipped, and swirled 7,227 GABF competition entries from 1,752 breweries. Of those, Orange County (and friends) took home medals in some very prestigious categories.

Team riip beer
Team riip beer

The Bruery (in Placentia and Anaheim) cured a four-year drought netting two: A silver for the Fess Parker collaboration Wineification II and a gold for Mischief, which I noted as recently being one of The Bruery’s core beers to rediscover. Since installing the new brew house, these “lower alcohol” beers have been crushing with character, and is a solid Trader Joe’s beer buy.

Noble Ale Works continues its hoppy beer dominance in national/world competition, winning a silver for Nobility Double IPA. That beer was also awarded at the recent World Beer Cup with a different set of international judges. What’s incredible about the win for me is how many entries are in the category, yet Noble still manages to rise to the top. Repeating recognition in a hoppy beer category is a rarity and must be applauded.

Noble’s Matt fist bumps the godfather of craft beer, Charlie Papazian – photo – Nagel

Huntington Beach’s riip beer company helped lift O.C. to IPA superiority winning a silver for American IPA among 312 entries. 25-year old head brewer Andrew Moy has an extremely promising career in beer with that medal, although his Dan K IPA riip released a year ago was one of my favorite new beers of 2015.

Coffee beer continues to rise in entries (168), thanks to its aromatic appeal. Pizza Port San Clemente percolated a silver with Dusk ’til Dawn, a beer I usually get a growler of when I’m headed through south county. This is the fourth medal for the location and the first time that beer has won at GABF.

TAPS Corona's brewer Jonathan Chiusano with Bootlegger's Tina on the GABF floor - photo - Nagel
TAPS Corona’s brewer Jonathan Chiusano with Bootlegger’s Tina on the GABF floor – photo – Nagel

Other notable wins came from TAPS Fish House & Brewery’s Corona location. Although the beer was brewed in the I.E., the brew team collaborates quite a bit. Their beer Silent Warrior took home gold in the barrel-aged strong beer category among 159 entries. If you were a fan of Remy, this beer should be on your radar. Be sure to check out TAPS annual fall beer dinner in Brea on October 20th.

Karl Strauss, who has two brewpub locations in O.C. at Costa Mesa and Anaheim, netted four medals and also the best midsize brewery award for 2016. Several of the award-winning beers are available at both, Mosaic Session IPA being one of my go-to beers.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewery grabbed a gold for fruited barrel-aged sour Razz-Jerry Tart.

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